YSR regime puts naxals on back foot in Andhra Pradesh
Saturday, November 18, 2006 (Hyderabad):
A day after taking over as chief minister in May 2004, YS Rajasekhara Reddy asked his police force to observe restraint and three weeks later, invited the naxals for peace talks.
The talks failed and very soon, it was back to the bullet for a bullet strategy in which the naxals have found themselves completely outsmarted in recent months.
An encounter in Kadapa district last week, the police claim, has wiped out naxal presence from the Rayalseema region, the southern part of Andhra Pradesh.
The police's confidence stems from having got Obulesu who was tipped to become the next secretary of the state committee.
Even his critics concede Reddy has managed to push the naxals on the back foot. The police have been on the offensive combing areas deep inside the Nallamalla forests where earlier no policeman dared to go.
But even as the war against naxals enters a decisive stage, police chief Swaranjit Sen prefers to be guarded.
"We have driven them against the wall, at least in Andhra Pradesh. I would not compartmentalise it in phase one or phase two.
"Phase one has to continue till the last man is down and they give it up," said Swaranjit Sen, DGP, AP.
Even the naxal sympathisers are in a state of disarray, angry at the U-turn taken by the YSR regime. They admit the police onslaught has forced most of the cadres to move into Chattisgarh and Orissa.
"I hold YSR responsible. He invited my brothers for talks, treated them to good food, then fed poison to shoot them dead. This cannot be excused," said Gadar, Naxal sympathizer.
The naxal movement is facing one of its worst crises of leadership having lost many of their top leaders in encounters in recent months.
It's time perhaps for YSR and the state police to consolidate on their gains.